| The name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis ("southern land"), a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. |
When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was naturally applied to the new continent.
The name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear".
The first time that Australia appears to have been officially used was in 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known officially by that name.
Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and “Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", and "the Wide Brown Land". The last two derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country".